Review parking policy for disabled people: council

The city of Coquitlam wants stiffer penalties to people who abuse and misuse accessible parking spots and the permit system. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
The city of Coquitlam wants stiffer penalties to people who abuse and misuse accessible parking spots and the permit system.
— image credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO

Drivers who park in spots reserved for the disabled without a permit should be taught a lesson, Coquitlam city council said this week.

At Monday's meeting, council voted unanimously to send a letter to the provincial government and to the Social Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC), which issues permits for accessible parking spaces, to crack down on violators.

Coun. Lou Sekora, who made the motion, said he has seen many incidents where drivers without permits park in handicap spots, denying disabled motorists spots to shops and services.

Coun. Mae Reid, who seconded Sekora's motion, said she has approached drivers at Coquitlam Centre mall who have abused the system.

"I think there should be huge fines," she said. "The only way to get to these people is touching their pocket books."

Sekora also took aim at SPARC for not enforcing the permits, especially those that have run past their due date.

His comments were echoed by Mayor Richard Stewart, who has a handicap sign for his car. Recently, he received a notice in the mail from SPARC, asking him to sign a piece of paper and return it if he wanted to renew.

"It shouldn't be an automatic," Stewart said.

According to SPARC's website, it's an offence under Division 38 of the Motor Vehicle Act to use a permit past its expiry or to stop or park in a designated accessible parking zone without a handicap sign.

As well, the city can fine under its street and traffic bylaw. At Monday's meeting, council approved a $50 municipal ticket for stopping/parking in a prohibited area under city jurisdiction.

Council's letter to Victoria and SPARC calls for a review of the parking permit program for disabled people.


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